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Danny Woodhead Inspires New RB Branden Oliver

Posted Jun 9, 2014

Branden Oliver is determined to emulate Danny Woodhead.

Back in the summer of 2010, Branden Oliver avidly watched “Hard Knocks” the summer before his freshman season at Buffalo. The New York Jets were profiled that year, and a particular player caught his eye.  A running back of a similar build and style who was fighting hard for his spot on the roster inspired Oliver.

That player was Danny Woodhead.

Four years later, the pair of 5-8, 200-pound running backs are now teammates, boasting a number of similarities. The rookie rusher is hoping to follow in number 39’s footsteps as he sees a player who fought tooth and nail as an undrafted free agent to carve out a successful NFL career.

“I feel a brotherhood with him,” Oliver explained.  “I look at Danny and see the situation he went through as an undrafted free agent. When he came on the scene I was like ‘Who is this dude?’  I was just out of high school and watching ‘Hard Knocks’ and I saw him with the Jets.  He was balling, and I couldn’t believe he got cut.  Then he joined the Patriots and kept balling.  And now he’s here and so am I, and when I signed here I was excited to join him as another undrafted free agent running back.  I’ve always admired him and look to him now for help.  ”

The always humble Woodhead downplayed  his stature as a role model, but said he’s honored that Oliver looks up to him.

“I can’t say that I think of myself as that, but that’s awesome,” he said.  “Even though I’m going into year seven, I still feel young.  I’m still looking up to people.  But hearing him say that obviously makes me feel good.  It makes me feel like I’m doing what I can to work hard and do my job.”

Less than a month into their tenure together in San Diego, Woodhead is already impressed with Oliver.  He’s humbled that the rookie admires him, and is eager to do whatever it takes to assist Oliver.

“He’s a great kid,” Woodhead said. “He’s very talented and has been a great addition for us.  When he asks questions I try to tell him the ways I have taken on those certain situations. I’m trying to give him the best advice because over seven years I’ve done things right and I’ve done things wrong.  So I’m trying to help any of the rookies.  Anyone who wants to ask me a question, I want to be there.  And he is a great kid.”

Oliver is not only learning from Woodhead off the field, but he’s looking to emulate his style on it.

“I especially focus on his mechanics,” he said.  “He is so technical with his routes.  I watch his movements with everything he does, and I try to do that.”

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